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Mason-Dixon Knitting

Knitting with a Southern Accent

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Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne.

Potter Craft.

There are tons of knitting books out there that have beautiful patterns, but it seems to be a tricky proposition to develop a knitting book that's full of great information and really brings across the personality of the person who wrote it.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is, of course, great at this. So are Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, better known as the Mason-Dixon knitters. Their book, Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide offers up a healthy dose of information, inspiration, patterns and more, served up in their friendly style, sure to make you want to sit and knit a spell.

Friends in a Knitting Book

The conversational style of Mason-Dixon Knitting is sure to draw readers in, just as the pair's popular blog does. Readers will find themselves laughing along with the book and wishing they could have a transcontinental beer with these two fun knitters.

The book provides lots of great advice, such as "If possible, get someone you love to teach you to knit," and that every knitter makes mistakes eventually but you shouldn't throw anything away because "you might need it someday" (unless, of course, you have something unfinished you know you're never going to finish, otherwise your descendants will be left wondering what to do with it when you're gone).

Readers will also learn about the ladies' love for dishcloths and housecoats, and Kay's particular love for knitting square things (particularly in the log cabin style) and they might even rub off on you a bit.

Along the way you'll also pick up some British knitting slang, great television to watch while knitting, how to get your kids to knit and why it's perfectly normal to love your steam iron.

This book won't teach you to knit, but it will sure make you glad you know how.

The Patterns

As mentioned earlier, Gardiner and Shayne are a bit obsessed with dishcloths (or washrags, as they also call them) and there are several patterns for dishcloths or using the same kind of cotton yarn you use for dishcloths (including an amazing bathmat) in the book.

This makes the book perfect for beginners and more experienced knitters alike, because easy projects with a small level of commitment are always appreciated. And just because they're easy doesn't mean they're ugly; they're also completely useful.

Other patterns in the book include an adorable baby kimono, knit cushions and curtains, lacy little numbers for the bedroom and felted boxes.

There are also several patterns incorporating the log cabin technique, as well as a great introduction to how to make these squares. Other quilt-inspired patterns include a Flying Geese lap blanket and a patchworky keepsake blanket that can be knit by several people and joined later.

Other projects feature knitting with rag strips, charity or gift projects, and plenty of things you'll want to keep for yourself.

Combine the fun, straightforward patterns with the hilarious style of the authors, and you've got a book you'll want to read (and knit from) for years to come.

Most of the projects are for home items that will get a lot of use and never go out of style -- what more could we wish for our projects?

The bottom line is, this is a book you'll pull down from the shelf again and again when you need a pattern for a useful gift, a blanket for someone you love, or something special for your own home.

Publication date: March 2006.

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